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Tagle: Spread the good news, put a stop to fake news

“Let us put a stop to fake news. We are not called and consecrated to bring fake news [but] only good news,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged during the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday.

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Photo courtesy of CBCP News.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged faithful on Thursday to halt the spread of fake news and disinformation in the country and instead called on people to evangelize with the good news.

“Let us put a stop to fake news. We are not called and consecrated to bring fake news [but] only good news, especially through the integrity of our lives,” Tagle said during his homily at the Chrism Mass at the Manila Cathedral.

Tagle also stressed how fake news proliferates through manipulation and disrespect of the truth.

“True communication happens in the context of a covenant relationship. Manipulation thrives in the context of disrespect. That’s why fake news proliferates,” Tagle said.

According to Tagle, spreading disformation contradicts God’s call of evangelization, which is about sharing good news.

“‘I can deliberately deceive people because I have no covenant relationship with them. I don’t care. I only want to manipulate the truth so I get what I ought.’ That is not evangelization,” he said.

He added: “Evangelization is a fact of daily life, we always communicate with good news. We cannot contain it. Good news begs to be shared. And good news begs for hearers of the good news.”

Tagle, moreover, reminded the clergy to listen and be attentive of God through the poor.

“It also requires attentiveness to the human condition – attentiveness to the poor, to the captives, to the blind, to the prisoners, those who are shackled, those who cannot breathe. We need to silently listen to them, and listening to their stories, we are reduced to further silence,” he said.

The Manila Archibishop has repeatedly slammed the rise of disinformation for political propaganda. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also released a pastoral letter against fake news last year, reminding Filipinos to “preach the truth,” avoid and eradicate fake news.

Last year, the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media have started the probe on the spread of misinformation, especially on social media. The committee held its second hearing on fake news last Jan. 30.

Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, meanwhile, has filed Senate Bill No. 1680, which seeks to penalize public officials that will peddle fake news reports. Sen. Joel Villanueva also filed Senate Bill No. 1492 that proposes to sanction false news.

The Chrism Mass, which is celebrated every Maundy Thursday, is a religious service in the Catholic Church where bishops bless oils to be used for the sacraments for the liturgical year, and where priests gather in their respective dioceses to renew their vows.—H. M. Amoroso

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Manifest

The promise of change can save a ‘fallen’ relationship, Rector says

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Photo by Abbie Vinluan/TomasinoWeb

UST Rector Fr. Hermino Dagohoy, O.P. said the promise of change can save a fallen relationship during the Ash Wednesday Mass, which concurred with the Valentine’s Day.

“Kung tayo ay nasasawi sa pag-ibig, the best way we can actually return and save the fallen relationship is to promise to our loved one that we are going to change,” he said during the University mass held at Plaza Mayor.

Dagohoy reminded Thomasians that Ash Wednesday is not just a day to remind us of our mortality but a day that we proclaim that we belong to God.

“As we remember our love ones, today, by giving them roses, chocolates, or balloons, today God imposes on us the sign of his cross as a sign of the greatest love ever told.”

Moreover, Dagohoy said the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live although there is “no human reality that scares us the most.”

“Ang kamatayan daw ay hindi ang pinaka malaking kawalan sa tao, ang pinaka malaking kawalan ay ang pagkamatay ng ating loob hanbang tayo’y nabubuhay. Kaya yung mga tao na namamatayan ng kalooban ay mukha nang patay kahit sila ay buhay,” he said.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent season, a 40-day period of fasting, abstinence from meat, giving alms, and penance as to recall Jesus’ being taunted by the Devil in the desert for 40 days. – H.M. Amoroso 

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UST vice rector: Partial truth must find its place

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Since the truth will not contradict itself, even partial truth must find its place in this age of fake news, said the University vice rector on Friday, Jan. 26.

“Pope Francis has this to say: education for truth is important. It would help people discern, evaluate, and understand, the news. Personally, I believe the truth is a form of charity,” said Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P during the Eucharistic celebration for the feast of the University’s patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Ang reminded that today’s digital age could negatively affect everybody as unverified information easily proliferates nowadays.

“This is an era when fake news and propaganda proliferate in cyber thoughts, which may cause irreparable damage to someone’s self-esteem and reputation,” he said in his homily.

“It helps to see the bigger picture, it pays to scope a hole”, he added. “St. Thomas Aquinas was in a constant search for truth because it [also] was a constant search for God.”

UST will celebrate St. Thomas’ feast day on Jan. 28, with the theme, “Non Nise Te, Domine (Nothing but Thyself, Lord): Celebrating with St. Thomas Aquinas the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.”

by Heather Marian Amoroso

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Tagle says free speech is Church’s conviction

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle stressed the promotion of upright social communication in evangelization, truthful information dissemination and social development through the help of technology.

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Screen grabbed from TV Maria Facebook live of the forum "Catholic Media in Challenging Times."

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle emphasized the Church’s “conviction” that freedom of speech is significant amid concerns over the cancellation of online news organization Rappler’s license.

Tagle cited the Vatican II in stating that while people are entitled to freedom of sharing and receiving information, the press is likewise part of that right, during the forum “Catholic Media in Challenging Times” on Friday, Jan. 19.

“Walang question dun ‘no… hindi na ito opinion,  it is our conviction that there should be freedom of people to share information and the right of people to receive,” he said, answering the question of a reporter on his take on the current issue of Rappler.

While firm on their stand on the freedom of speech, both Tagle and Mylo Hubert Vergara, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Commission on Social Communications head, refused to answer the question directly, stating that facts, implications and further understanding of the issue is still needed for them to respond appropriately.

“Ito aaminin ko na po sa inyo, kasi minsan hindi ko nasusundan lahat pati detalye. Ako ay ayokong basta magbigay ng opinion sa isang bagay na hindi ko napag-aralan kasi pag nasabi na, hirap namang bawiin,” Tagle said.

The decision of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler’s license to operate on January 11 was due to the news agency’s “deceptive” violation of the Foreign Equity Restriction of the Philippine Constitution mandating 100-percent Filipino control and ownership of local mass media entities.

Rappler accepted over $1 million from foreign investor Omidyar Network Fund LLC through Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR) in 2015 which secured two-thirds of all the PDR holders on corporate matters.

PDRs are derivative instruments that permits foreign bodies to purchase into private agencies for financial returns but don’t grant ownership or any control in the company.

Also, Tagle mentioned points in the Vatican II, an ecuminical council in 1960s which tackled relations of the Church and the modern world.

He stressed the promotion of upright social communication in evangelization, truthful information dissemination and social development through the help of technology.

“Since public opinion is at stake through information and more seriously the involvement of human being in societal development, each person must be given the opportunity to be formed in the use of social communications,” Tagle added.  

Tagle also warned of the arising threats of the means of communication specifically the new form of “noise”, evasiveness, quest for stimulation and exploitation.

“Some people are proposing the digital detox, detoxification… through silence, a return to reflection and prayer life. At a time where we have multiplied the means of social communication, people are looking for silence,” he said.

SEC’s ruling has raised concerns from local and international groups, as well as from some politicians, stating that the move is an attack on press freedom, whereas the government has denied the accusations (READ: Media groups protest attacks on press freedom).

The news agency currently continues to operate since the decision of SEC was not yet final and executory.—B. Laforga

 

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